Wednesday, November 9, 2011

System 2

This is a minor modification to the questions from System 1. I considered calling it 1A, but decided that it's better to make sure each system is distinct. Even changing the wording of a question ought to merit it being considered a new system, because even small changes in wording can affect the answers we give.
  1. Would you watch this movie again?
  2. Did you connect with the movie on a personal level?
  3. Did you feel the emotional impact that you think the film intended?
  4. Do you think the movie satisfies what you consider to be the goals of cinema?
  5. Do you think it satisfies what you consider to be the goals of art?
  6. Do you think the movie's artistic intent is interesting?
  7. Do you think those intentions are well executed?
  8. Do you agree with the theme or moral you feel the film tries to convey?
This system is scored essentially the same way as System 1, but I feel that I explained that method rather poorly in my haste to start blogging, so I will attempt again:

For the mathematically inclined, each question can be though of as a binary digit. For the computer inclined, each question can be thought of as a bit. Arrange the digits/bits in order, with the first question being the most significant, and it produces a number between 0 and decimal 255. Congratulations! That's your rating.

For the rest of you, think this way: a no gives no points, and a yes gives some points. Each question gives twice as many points as the one below it, and question 8 (the last one) gives one point. For those of you who still can't be bothered to do the math, question 7 gives 2 points, 6 gives 4, 5 gives 8, 4 gives 16, the third gives 32, the second gives 64, and the first question gives 128 points. Add all these together, and you have a rating.

This is the same way that you grade System 1. The difference between Systems 1 and 2 is a few questions: I collapsed the last four questions of System 1 into two questions, and added two new questions in the second and last spots, respectively.

On to the good stuff: the Coen brothers rundown. To recap, basically as a way to "calibrate" a System, I review all of the Coen brothers' movies I've seen more than once. I chose only movies I've seen multiple times to more fairly evaluate them, I chose to stick with a single director's work because it's much easier to subjectively compare two films if they share the vision of a common director, and I chose the Coen brothers because I've seen more movies by them than anyone else.
  • Blood Simple: 255, or 11111111
  • Raising Arizona: 155, or 10011011
  • Miller's Crossing: 255, or 11111111
  • Barton Fink: 255, or 11111111
  • The Big Lebowski: 255, or 11111111
  • No Country for Old Men: 255, or 11111111
  • A Serious Man: 255, or 11111111
  • True Grit: 137, or 10001001
I'm a little worried by this. I may be tired, so I'll sleep on these, but it is concerning that a system ostensibly designed to pick "which of these do I like more" is lumping everything into one big "I like it all so much" pile at the top. Perhaps the Coen brothers are just two of my favorite directors, and they make some undeniably excellent movies, so they deserve a place near the top; however, the previous scale (which was, I think, more film-student oriented) seemed to differentiate between them better. Perhaps it would be better if I went through and actually rethought all of my answers.

Since I've only reviewed three movies thus far, I shall re-review those films in a later post, addressing only the changes from System 1 to System 2, in order to produce System 2 ratings for them and see how they stack up. This new system will not replace System 1. Since the questions themselves are nearly identical, I will continue to answer them all and provide ratings for both systems. However, I instinctively feel that this system is an improvement over System 1, and I intend to see which one produces results I feel most accurately reflect my opinions. I may phase System 1 out at a later date, or I may decide System 1 was right all along and remove System 2.

Readers, please comment! And rate movies. Leah, do more than say "I haven't seen any Coen brothers movies" because I know you have.

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